Harrison County

Remembering Ruby Grace

Ruby Grace with former Sun Herald publisher Roland Weeks.
Ruby Grace with former Sun Herald publisher Roland Weeks. meperez@sunherald.com

Former Publisher Roland Weeks

“I thank God for the privilege of knowing Ms. Ruby, and for being her friend. She was, in so many ways, a beautiful lady. I loved her and I will miss her ... I have been around for a long, long time. I have a short list of men and women that stand out because they are, in every way that is important, ‘good.’ Ms. Ruby is a prominent member of that small group.”

Executive Editor and Vice President Blake Kaplan

“Ruby was the den mother for the Sun Herald newsroom. She always had time for each of us, no matter what the issue or problem. I can still hear her voice answer the phone in the way she only could, ‘Sun Herald ... Newsroom ... This is Ruby.’ She had patience and she was a pro. What more could you ask for?

Former reporter and columnist Jean Prescott

“As for me, let’s just say she was an inspiration for me. I learned from her (almost exclusively) not to bellyache about my problems because there is always someone worse off than I, and to be grateful just for each new day. I forgot a lot, and when she’d remind me, I’d say “love you, Ruby.” Everyone who knows her knows she would say back “love you more.” And she was right.”

Former reporter Tammy Smith

“Miss Ruby gave me my first real understanding of what unconditional love means. She was an angel on Earth, and we were all blessed to have known her.”

Former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr

“She was clearly a devout Christian. It was obvious. She never told me she was, but it was obvious. I never knew anyone who lived that example better, without being a preacher. It was a privilege to get to know her. “

WLOX reporter Mike Lacy

“Heaven has a new angel. She was the most selfless person I have ever met. She loved everyone, no matter who they were.”

Former Executive Editor Stan Tiner

“The Sun Herald was exceedingly blessed to have shared Miss Ruby with her family, church, and community for a long season. Visitors, and our newsroom, were greeted each day with that sweet smile and caring spirit that were her gift to all who came our way. She was the glue that held us close and the crossroad where we connected with the public. Her diplomatic skills were beyond compare.”

Editorial Editor Paul Hampton

“She’s one of the people that made the Sun Herald a family. She was like having an extra mom, grandma and cool aunt rolled into one sweet lady.”

Reporter Anita Lee

“Ruby Grace lived rather than preached her faith. Her example taught us all to be better people. She was our newsroom mother — comforting, congratulating, encouraging and inspiring us all, always. She used to remind me to be nice to my mother when she called in the afternoons to say, ‘hello,’ while I was on deadline. I often heard Mrs. Ruby on the phone with readers, irate with us, some politician or the general problems of life. Her voice was soothing as a waterfall during those calls and I believe most of the callers hung up feeling better, as we all did, after talking to her.”

News photographer John Fitzhugh

“Ruby has been a surrogate mother to so many of us that have worked at the Sun Herald over the years. Her amazing patience with customers always amazed us. Most of all she was always there with a hug when we needed it. She had the best hugs, the ones that makes you know that you are loved and everything will be OK.”

Tracy Yanez, community relations specialist with Mississippi Power

“She had a number of Ruby-isms that on the surface some may think were just a cute thing, but she always meant what she said. For instance, if you ever said, ‘I love you’ to Ruby, it would always be followed by ‘I love you more’, and you never won, if you tried to debate that. She truly did love us all, and what a great demonstration of her faith in Jesus Christ, too. She believed He always loves us more, even despite our shortcomings.”

Reporter Robin Fitzgerald

“I remember seeing Ms. Ruby’s beautiful smile on a billboard after she was named employee of the year. She was as beautiful on the inside as her smile on the outside. Day after day, she answered the newsroom phone with such a pleasant voice that she became known as the voice of the Sun Herald. Every caller received a cheerful greeting. If they didn’t hang up in a good or better mood, it was no fault of Ms. Ruby’s. If she couldn’t help them, she would find someone who could.”

Reporter Mary Perez

“Ruby Grace lived her name. She was a rare gem and graced us with a hug, a smile and a birthday wish every time.”

Reporter Margaret Baker

“For us in the newsroom, Mrs. Ruby was our other mother. She was that one person that brought love and light into life no matter the circumstances. Even as she lay sick, she found a way to bless me with love and encouragement and precious words of wisdom. I know this angel on Earth is with God now, but I will miss my other mother and forever cherish our time together. Love you so much, Mrs. Ruby, but I know what you would say, “I love you more.”

Senior editor Kate Magandy

“Miss Ruby was the kindest soul I’ve ever met. She dispensed patience and love and wisdom with that sweet smile of hers. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a smile that would power the sun. We are all better for having known her. Tom and I considered her part of our family and will miss her.”

Former opinion page editor Marie Harris

“To thousands of visitors and callers, Ruby was the face and the voice of the Sun Herald newsroom. To the reporters and editors who worked there, she was the heart.

“Every day, Ruby juggled hundreds of phone calls and dozens of walk-ins. She soothed angry callers with her sweet voice and incredible patience. She kept cranky copiers and fax machines running. Sometimes she served as a surrogate mother. She always laughed at your jokes, even the awful ones.

“In the middle of a chaotic newsroom — which described every day for a long time after Katrina — Ruby radiated an inner peace that had a calming effect on those around her. That peace was based on her faith in God, which never wavered. Even in these last weeks, friends who visited Ruby would discover that they were the ones who were being comforted and uplifted.”

Former reporter Kat Bergeron

“I could write reams! Anyone who knew Ruby is a better person for it. Whether a colleague, a friend, or someone who chanced upon her goodness for a brief time, makes no difference. Ruby rubbed off on all of us. What made her so special, I often ask myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was the whole package – her smile and lively eyes, her unshakable positive attitude, her sensibility punctuated with good humor, her unquestionable faith, her strong work ethic only surpassed by devotion to family and friends.

In nearly 30 years, never once did I hear her bad-mouth anyone, not even readers who’d call on the phone or visit the newsroom exuding anger over something we covered or did not cover. They’d be eating out of her hands when Ruby was finished with them – and the rest of us in the newsroom gave audible sighs of relief that Ruby had saved us again. Regular sources and friends of mine deliberately called Ruby’s receptionist desk instead of my desk so they could chat with “the voice of the Sun Herald,” as one regular caller aptly described her.

Ruby recognized no color lines, even though she herself was discriminated against as a young black girl forced to stand at the back of the bus. It didn’t matter if you were mayor or floor sweeper, Ruby treated you with the same respect. That’s why people made up excuses to call and visit the newsroom. After some of us retired, we’d get together regularly for dominoes and Ruby’s laughter at those games was infectious. ‘Love ya, Ruby!’ we’d say anytime we departed, and in her unique way of getting in the last and best words, Ruby always replied, ‘I love you more!’ ”

Judge Robin Alfred Midcalf

“Ms. Ruby Grace was the epitome of her name “grace”, and also kindness and sweetness. Such a beautiful soul and always had a kind word.”